Friday, May 24, 2013

Hayao Miyazaki on Good vs. Evil

My wonderful boyfriend David and I agree on most things. We initially bonded over our love of TV shows, videogames and all things nerd. However, we can't seem to come to an agreement on one of my favorite movies, Spirited Away.

Hayao Miyazaki is the cofounder of Studio Ghibli, Japan's premiere animation studio and producer of Oscar-winning Spirited Away, as well as other well-known films such as Princess Mononoke, NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind, and Howl's Moving Castle. I have always loved his films, but Dave just couldn't get into it. It's true that they are definitely strange movies by standard American film terms.

Miyazaki explains one of the core differences between his films and American films in this wonderfully illustrated little comic. The fact that his characters are usually neither good nor evil is probably my favorite thing about his movies.

That's all from me for the next little while - I'm about to launch into the crazy month of June with a new show to work on, a new art class (!), and TWO trips and TWO sets of visitors. Here's hoping I come out clean on the other side (with more daily sketches to show for it)!

© Gina Florio 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Disney News from 1954 and Today

Every once in a while, Andreas Deja or James Gurney (in this case, Gurney) will post another vintage Disney behind-the-scenes video. These shorts tend to be a little cheesy and staged, but they're fascinating insights into the way things were done at Disney. They also give me a strong feeling of nostalgia for the old days, when films were produced with love and care, and were allowed to move at their own pace, unconcerned about ADD viewers being distracted by their cellphones.

The film highlights Disney studio artists Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle, Walter Peregoy, and Joshua Meador in the various ways they contribute to a movie like Sleeping Beauty.

"Go forward with what you have to say, expressing things as you see them." - Robert Henri, The Art Spirit. I hear this advice repeated often nowadays by artists I follow: don't try to achieve or imitate a "style" - just draw, and you will find your own style, which is better than anything you could have attempted to imitate. (Reminds me of that quote, 'Be the best version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else'... or something like that.)

"Making an animated film is a cooperative effort. Each artist must be prepared to modify his own pet ideas, in order to achieve the best possible solution to the problem. No one has things entirely his own way, but in the end, the result is better than any one of us could have achieved alone." - Marc Davis

This second sentiment is something I've had to learn on my own at work. I'm often working with a team of editors to produce a show. I know I have strengths and weaknesses as an editor, and the other editors help fill in my weak spots while I contribute in the best way I know how. The end result is a completely collaborative effort, which none of us could have done by ourselves.

The four different paintings of the oak tree at the end of the film are wonderful to watch - especially since I am about to be diving into oil painting much sooner than I had thought I would. Concept Design Academy's summer classes went on sale the other day, and I was too slow to get a spot in my top choice for a class, "Sketching for Environment" with Ed Li, which sold out within 10 minutes. As an extreme last minute resort, I grabbed a spot in "Landscape Painting" with Leighton Hickman. I am excited but also very nervous. Oil painting is very much outside of my comfort zone, and I'd been waiting to tackle it until I'd gotten a better foundation in drawing. However, I'm hoping it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise...

Last but not least, there was the very exciting news of Disney announcing their latest animated feature, which will be called "Big Hero Six" and set in the future city of "San Fransokyo." If this first official glimpse into the film is a true indication of its look, I'm very excited for it...

© Gina Florio 2013